Samuel Elliott

From Kook Science

Samuel Elliott (c. 1851 - ?) was an American machinist who was reported in 1881 to have invented a perpetual motion machine while incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison South in Jeffersonville, Indiana on a burglary conviction.

Press Coverage

  • "THE STATE.", Greencastle Banner (Greencastle, Ind.): 6, 16 June 1881, 

    Samuel Elliott, a 5-year convict from Wayne county, was recently released from the Southern prison. Elliott came from Ohio. He left the prison with an ingenious machine which he calls perpetual motion. It is termed a ball motion, consisting of eight brass balls moving over inclined planes, striking four levers, each eight inches high, fixed upon a horizontal wheel. The balls, after striking the levers, drop down and are carried up on a hollow screw. The machine is Elliott’s invention, and worked well while in the prison.

  • "Perpetual Motion.", Watertown News (Watertown, Wisconsin): 6, 22 June 1881, 

    Samuel Elliot, a convict in the state prison at Jeffersonville, Kentucky, has invented a perpetual motion machine which is described as follows: “It consists of two spirals, seven balls and four hollow arms, and depends upon gravitation for its motive power. The machine is about two feet high, and the outside spiral sixteen or eighteen inches in diameter. Inside of the larger spiral is a smaller one, to which is attached four hollow arms, all about an inch and a quarter in diameter, and which are connected at the outer ends by an arrangement which holds the outside spiral in its place, and at the same time works over it and around it. The balls are put in at the toil, and running out the arms to the larger spiral, begin to descend the circular machine, and at the same time carry the connected arms, one at the top and the other below, around with them. On reaching the bottom the balls fall into the lower arms and are carried through them slantingly to the inside spiral which is kept turning like an angle by the motion of the arms. They are then forced up this by balls constantly rolling down the outer spiral until they reach the top, when they again fall into the arms, roll out into the larger spiral, descend, reach the bottom, roll to the inside and are again carried up as before. The secret of power in this contrivance lies in the force of the balls as they roll down the outer spiral, and by this pressure keep the smaller spiral turning. The overplus of force thus attained is entirely sufficient to force the balls up the inside, and by their own momentum they perform the other part which scarcely any diminution of the force of gravitation which causes them to descend.” This action is not very clear, but doubtless the theory of the invention is that the balls descending in the outer spiral will exert a surplus of power over those ascending in the inner spiral because their weight acts at the end of a longer leverage.